Monday, October 27, 2014

2014 election: Time to panic?

Wehby, Buehler are this year's RINOs
The good news about the general election is that we only have a week left of negative TV ads, throw-away political fliers and constant robo-calls.

The bad news is that we still have a week left of all that garbage.

Since it is a non-presidential election, the media tell us that the opposition party, the Republicans, stand to make big gains by winning control of both houses of Congress.

We shall see.

There is a general crankiness out there in spite of the fact that the economy is doing better than it has in a decade, the stock market is at record highs and gas prices are well below $3 a gallon in some places.

But, good news doesn't sell TV ads or whatever newspaper fill their pages with these days.

Not that ebola or ISIS or the Ukraine aren't news, it's just that they have little or no effect on anything in America.

So, when all else fails, push the panic button of irrationality.

That always works.

Or, at least until the election is over and then it will be back to 24/7 coverage of the next iPhone.

But, all the bloviation doesn't seem to have much impact here in Oregon.

In Deschutes County, ballot returns, in our vote-by-mail system, were at just 17 percent as of Friday. At this rate, we'll likely get in the 60 percent range next week, which is generally good news for Republicans, who usually need less voter turnout to win and the reason why they push to suppress the vote across the country.

Four years ago, the turnout, inspired by tea-baggers, reached nearly 73 percent.

Well, that party is over.

The usual social issues are absent from the Oregon ballot this time around. Plus, the Republicans running for the Senate and our local state House seat both back abortion rights and same-sex marriage.

Yes, they're Republicans in Name Only or RINOs.

That's the real news.

Monica Wehby, though, will likely lose her bid for the Senate by a double-digit margin, but Knute Buehler should win the local House seat comfortably.

Naturally, during the primary, Wehby and Buehler obscured their views on those issues in order to win the votes of the social conservatives out there.

After securing their primary victories they tacked to the center in order to win over the non-affiliated voters, which make up a quarter of the electorate.

Well, Oregon Right to Life (ORtL) felt used and sent out a postcard urging their like-minded citizens to not vote for Buehler. "Leave the ballot line BLANK," the group wrote.

ORtL claims that Buehler has "joined with other Republicans here in Oregon to push the Republican Party to support abortion on demand."

Once upon a time, Oregon Right to Life could have a major impact on statewide elections. But, that NRA-type of influence will be severely tested this time around.

Buehler is betting that he'll win over enough non-affiliated voters to offset the "voter suppression" attempt by ORtL.

But, should he lose, it will send a big message to other GOP candidates that opposition to abortion is the most important issue to rank-and-file Republicans.

If Buehler wins, the war over social issues will finally fade away.

"This would leave pro-lifers with no party that supports their values," ORtL wrote.

Or, ORtL will form its own party and siphon off votes from future GOP hopefuls.

We can only hope.

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